P2/N95 face masks can help filter out the fine particles in smoke. To be effective, they must be fitted according to the manufacturer’s instructions and form a tight seal around the face. It can be difficult to maintain a tight seal, particularly for people with facial hair.​

Last updated: 27 October 2023

​​What is a P2/N95 mask?

P2/N95 rated face masks can help filter out the fine particles found in bushfire smoke when worn correctly. They are disposable masks so should be replaced after each use.

Why wear a P2/N95 mask?

P2/N95 masks help to protect you from bushfire smoke and poor air quality if you are unable to avoid exposure.

People returning to fire-damaged homes after bushfires should wear a P2/N95 face mask, as well as protective clothing such as sturdy footwear, heavy-duty work gloves and disposable coveralls. For more information, refer to health advice for returning home safely,​

Are P2/N95​ masks suitable for everyone?

To be effective, P2/N95 masks must form an air-tight seal around the face.

However, some people might find this difficult:

  • If you have a beard, you should shave before using a P2/N95 mask to achieve a good seal between the mask and your face.
  • If you have a pre-existing heart and lung condition, P2/N95 masks can make it harder to breathe. Speak to your doctor before wearing one.
  • If you have difficulty breathing, feel dizzy, faint or have other symptoms while wearing a face mask, remove the mask and go indoors or to a place where there is better air quality.
  • P2/N95 masks are not designed to fit the smaller face of children.​​

Where can I get a P2/N95 mask?

Face masks are available at most pharmacies and many hardware stores and other safety equipment suppliers. Ring ahead before you visit to make sure there is stock.

How to wear a P2/N95 mask

Make sure the mask has formed a tight seal over the bridge of the nose and mouth.

Check there are no gaps in the seal between the mask and the face before entering an unsafe environment. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.​

H​​ow long should I wear a P2/N95 mask?

P2/N95 masks should be replaced after each use.

Throw it out once you have worn it for f​​our hours, once it becomes moist or if you’re finding it hard to breathe through it, as it might be full of particles.​​​​​​


Current as at: Friday 27 October 2023
Contact page owner: Environmental Health